The weather played a big part in the Malaysian F1 race at Sepang, in the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship
The weather played a big part in the Malaysian F1 race at Sepang, in the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship. Lewis Hamilton took advantage of starting in pole and lead the pack around the first lap of the circuit.
With his team mate, Jenson Button following closely behind, not all of the circuit was wet, making conditions tricky for the drivers on intermediate tyres.
Michael Schumacher, usually a master in the wet, spun at turn 4 getting touched from behind by Sebastian Grosjean. Two laps later and the Frenchman was off in the gravel trap.
By lap 4 drivers were heading into the pits to change to full wet weather tyres.
Hamilton’s lead was upto 7.991 seconds by lap 5 over Mark Webber, before he came into the pits to make his tyre change. McLaren timed it to perfection so that Hamilton regained his lead. But with thunder and lightning joining the torrential rain, on lap 7 the safety car was out.
A surprise in the top 10 was the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan, who had been on full wet weather tyres from the start. With drivers complaining of aquaplaning in the disastrous conditions, a red flag was waved on lap 9 and all cars made their way back to the grid to wait for conditions to improve. After a lengthy delay, the cars got back behind the safety car for 4 laps.
On the re-start Hamilton sped off, while some of the following pack headed to the pits for intermediates.
A lap later and he too was pitting, one that cost him dearly as he was delayed leaving his pit box due to traffic. McLaren’s woes continued with Button having a coming together with Karthikeyan and he was back in the pits to repair damage to his front wing.
Sergio Perez briefly took the lead, but by lap 21 it was Fernando Alonso setting the pace, and hitting the front. Further down the field, Kimi Raikkonen was battling with Sebastian Vettel, the Finn less than a second behind the Red Bull driver. Both drivers disposed of a struggling Nico Rosberg to continue their battle and chase down Hamilton in 3rd.
The Sauber of Perez was flying, consistently setting fastest laps and eating into Alonso’s lead. On lap 36 he was a second faster than the Spaniard with a 1:54:738.
With 13 laps remaining, the Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were catching Hamilton, although the presence of black clouds over the circuit were keeping teams on their toes.
But Vettel’s hunt of the McLaren came to an end when he had a left rear puncture from clipping the front of Karthikeyan’s front wing, whilst lapping the HRT.
A battle in the remaining laps saw Perez piling on the pressure to Alonso, but a mistake at turn 13 saw the Mexican run wide which opened up a 5 second gap.
Fernando Alonso remained untroubled to the chequered flag and took a fine win in difficult conditions for all the drivers. Sergio Perez took his first ever podium in F1, much to the delight of the Sauber team.
With Hamilton taking the final step, he will be wondering if he can take his first win of the season at the next round in China.
Malaysian F1 Race Result
- Fernando Alonso
- Sergio Perez
- Lewis Hamilton
- Mark Webber
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Bruno Senna
- Paul Di Resta
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Michael Schumacher
- Sebastian Vettel
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Nico Rosberg
- Jenson Button
- Felipe Massa
- Vitaly Petrov
- Timo Glock
- Heikki Kovalainen
- Pastor Maldonado
- Charles Pic
- Narain Karthikeyan
- Pedro de la Rosa